7 Environmentally Friendly Business Ideas (With Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Many businesses are increasingly becoming environmentally conscious and are trying to leave a smaller carbon footprint. A go-green movement encompasses several innovative business ideas for a more sustainable future. These go-green business ideas allow you to start a venture while staying eco-friendly. In this article, we discuss environmentally friendly business ideas that can have a significant effect on the environment on many levels.

Environmentally friendly business ideas

Environmentally friendly business ideas help drive global sustainability efforts. By adopting more eco-friendly practices, companies can achieve numerous commercial advantages, from cost savings to outstanding market advantages. Below are some business ideas that are good for the Earth:

1. Eco-friendly restaurant

An eco-friendly restaurant is a restaurant that uses sustainable management systems and materials along with an emphasis on animal welfare and sustainable food selection. A lot of consumers today prefer green restaurants, which makes it a viable business venture. Opening an eco-friendly restaurant involves:

  • Usage of fresh ingredients from local sources to make seasonal food.

  • Ensure the suppliers use biodegradable materials for their deliveries and assist in timely packing and shipping to reduce fuel emissions.

  • Provide portions based on actual consumption levels to reduce waste.

  • Keep track of stock and expiration dates to avoid wastage.

  • Implement a good labelling and storage system to reduce waste.

  • Usage of chemical-free products for cleaning.

2. Green beauty product business

Green and sustainable cosmetics in the cosmetics industry are products containing natural ingredients produced from renewable raw materials. The main ingredients in green cosmetics are oleochemicals derived from renewable plant and bacterial sources. A bio-based beauty business can significantly improve public perception and increase sales. Manufacturing green cosmetics is also a way to lay emphasis on corporate responsibility. Sustainable practices such as materials sourced from sustainable sources or packaging can have a significant impact on a company's image and on its bottom line. The end-user benefits from using bio-based products, as they are generally safer and higher-quality products.

Related: What Does A Biochemical Engineer Do? (Skills And Duties)

3. Solar panel installation

Solar panels convert solar energy into electricity, which is pure and renewable. In addition to adding value to remote locations by generating power without the need for electric grid connection, solar energy is also becoming popular in urban areas. Installing solar panels requires on-the-job training and does not require certification, which makes it a good eco-friendly business idea. It involves planning, building a platform, mounting the panels and wiring them to make them work.

Related: Business Ethics Examples (And How To Improve Them)

4. Upcycling

Upcycling is modifying an old product to make a new one. An upcycling business uses old products to give them a new form without adding any additional elements to the production. Upcycling enterprises are smaller than large businesses that produce at a large scale and require large investments, which makes them the best small business idea. Upcycling is common in the wood, textile, furniture, second-hand goods and glass industries. Here are some pointers to start an upcycling business:

  • Conduct market research before selling upcycled products.

  • Find the niche, such as creating textured artwork from waste materials and fibres, or restoring wooden furniture.

  • Look for discarded items at garage sales and other places for a constant supply of materials.

  • Consider selling at local craft shows and fairs to save up on shipping costs.

Related: What Is Social Responsibility And Why Is It Important?

5. Nursery

A growing number of consumers are showing interest in sustainable agriculture, which includes nurseries. Consider opening a retail nursery or partnering with local businesses to sell plants, such as florists and landscapers, or selling directly to households. Alternatively, it is a good idea to sell plants and gardening supplies in bulk to landscape contractors, retail stores, distributors and municipalities. Some of the eco-friendly practices to opt for include:

  • Pack and ship plants in materials that are made of recycled substances.

  • To avoid plastic, plant the nursery stock in organic containers.

  • Go for native plants that can thrive and benefit from the climate, soil, water levels and local pollinators in their natural habitats.

  • Obtain compost from livestock, equine farms or opt for a do-it-yourself (DIY).

6. Green cleaning

Several household cleaners can be toxic, causing irritation and creating a ton of plastic waste. Using green cleaners is becoming more popular as environmental awareness grows. Interested business owners can start a green cleaning business by simply adding these services to their existing business model or by starting a new green cleaning business. Creating cleaning products that are available locally or via subscription would be an additional benefit. Here are some of the ways to start a green cleaning business:

  • Identify local companies that are environmentally friendly and who would be interested in hiring a green cleaning service.

  • Approach prospective clients to offer the services.

  • Reduce the number of synthetic and harmful chemicals.

  • Consider additional requirements such as equipment needed, training and insurance for specialty cleaning services like window cleaning, carpet cleaning or floor maintenance.

Related: 20 Side Jobs For Generating Additional Income

7. Sustainable tourism

The need for sustainability within the tourism sector presents a good opportunity to come up with eco-tourism to attract tourists, boost brand awareness and lower overhead costs. Eco-tourism is a low-impact, small-scale method of tourism that lets visitors learn about the local culture, flora and fauna. Here are some of the ways to start a sustainable tourism business:

  • Move the business online to reduce resources such as paper.

  • Promote sustainable activities such as cycle tours or wildlife sanctuaries.

  • Provide customers with conservation resources for the place they are visiting.

  • Partner with local communities and non-profit groups to develop innovative expeditions and impact projects with limited resources.

Related: 14 Types Of Travel And Tourism Jobs (Duties And Salary)

Benefits of being environmentally friendly

Here are some of the benefits of being environmentally friendly:

Better employee health

Keeping employees healthy is another benefit of an eco-friendly company. It can not only attract employees of similar values but also keep them healthy. The addition of healthy options, which are good for the Earth, such as a cafeteria that serves organic and other healthy snack options at the workplace can also benefit the employees' health.

Attract new customers

Having eco-friendly business matters to consumers in an increasingly eco-friendly society. With consumers becoming more aware of their purchasing habits, they read the labels of products to determine if they are eco-friendly or reusable. Making a choice on how to spend their money depends on this factor for many people.

The business can receive a significant boost if business owners can cater to overarching consumer preferences. For example, sustainable business owners might advertise on their website, post signs in their physical store or make mentions on the product labels on their social media platforms.

Subsidies from the government

A number of government subsidies are available to businesses that introduce practices and solutions that are eco-friendly as part of their efforts to implement sustainable and renewable energy. Incentives such as tax breaks, rebates, grants and other financial incentives are also available to such businesses. For small- and medium-sized businesses and other organisations, there is also a range of financing options, such as the advancement of green solutions in any approved construction.

Increase in green reputation

The popularity of green companies and brands is growing steadily among clients, customers and employees. By becoming a green business, a company can gain new customers who prefer to buy from green businesses. As employees and consumers increasingly value sustainable products, it makes business sense for companies to explore this option too.

Reduce costs and improve efficiency

The goal of sustainability is to reduce waste and conserve resources. It is possible to reduce costs and improve business efficiencies by making small eco-friendly changes to operations, procurement and the workplace. The efficiency of the business operation corresponds to producing the same amount of product with fewer resources and creates sustainable outcomes.

Competitive advantage

Due to consumers' sensitivity to socially responsible supply chain credentials, sustainable sourcing and procurement may also provide a marketing advantage. Companies that use sustainable supply chain management have an advantage over their competitors. Investing in sustainability as a strategic component of the business plan can be imperative to accelerate company growth and send a positive signal to the market and stakeholders.

Improved employee hiring and retention

Sustainable business practices have taken the lead when it comes to hiring and retaining employees in recent years. Companies can take several initiatives to reduce their environmental impact, improve employee satisfaction, increase employee loyalty and boost productivity and efficiency by committing to sustainability. In many cases, eco-friendly practices enhance a company's reputation where prospective employees believe they would be proud to represent the organisation.

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